During the last dot-com boom, the rich weirdos of Silicon Valley weren’t afraid to have a little fun. Razor scooters at the office, sock-puppet mascots — you name a traditional business convention, someone in Palo Alto was upending it.
But today’s tech industry is all earnest and profesh, and start-up CEOs now want to be known as “mission-driven lifestyle evangelists,” or whatever.
So when Bravo announced it was making a reality show about the tech world that would reveal it as, like, an actual industry in which money is made and spent, the Valley fought back.
Today’s Times carries a front-page rallying cry from the denizens of Silicon Valley, who are outraged — outraged! — that Bravo, whose show on Valley life is scheduled to air next winter, seems to be ignoring their lofty world-changing ambitions and focusing instead on their outrageous parties and rooftop pools:
When details about the show, tentatively titled “Silicon Valley,” first seeped out, many here were offended, saying it would trivialize the difficult and important work being done in the valley. “Yuck, please stay in LA,” Kevin Rose, an entrepreneur and venture capitalist, messaged his million-plus Twitter followers.
The controversial stars of Bravo’s Silicon Valley seem to be Ben and Hermione Way, a British brother and sister who have gotten $500,000 to develop “a fitness app.” While observing filming, the Times noted the Ways’ “$17,000-a-month crash pad with an outdoor pool,” which has its own Twitter feed and is partly sponsored by a chip company and a “coconut water supplier.”
Randi Zuckerberg, sister of Mark, is an executive producer on the show, a fact that grates Silicon Valley power players. Some of Randi’s former colleagues are “terrified” that giving the tech industry the Jersey Shore treatment might lead people to overlook the fact that lots of tech millionaires are good, hard-working nerds whose houses don’t have any social media profiles.
Which is true, and also a nuanced observation that will never, ever make it past Bravo’s cutting room.
I’m looking forward to the tech world’s inevitable attempts at counter-programming. My guess is that The Real Silicon Valley would consist of silent 30-minute shots of a Stanford CS major debugging lines of Python in his boxers, but I’d probably TiVo it anyway.